It’s been more than 15 months since the disaster at Japan’s Fukushima nuclear plant and the earthquake and tsunami that precipitated it. Now trash from the smashed buildings, vehicles and other debris scoured from 120 miles of Japanese coastline by the tsunami are beginning to wash up on the shores of Hawaii, the Pacific Northwest, the west coast of Canada and Alaska.
The chief concern of scientists tracking this material has been radioactivity. Though the ferocity of the tsunami washed most of the debris out to sea immediately, it is believed currents held some of it close to Fukushima for as much as a week, creating the potential for radioactive contamination. Nevertheless, little to no radioactivity has been measured on the Japanese flotsam, in part because much of it may have been scrubbed away in the course of its 15-month, 5,000-mile voyage across the Pacific. And much of the material is still caught in the trash-filled Pacific gyre known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.
Still, it might be a good idea to contact the proper authorities if that pretty piece of sea glass you found also happens to glow in the dark.
Source: Seattle Times